In celebrating Thang Long-Ha Noi 1000th Anniversary and Hue Festival 2010, the Grand Xa Tac Rite is to be held with pomp and hundreds of actors in costume to revive the original ceremony as part of the country’s ancient culture.
Under Nguyen dynasty, together with Nam Giao Esplanade and five temples in the Imperial City (Trieu Mieu, Thai Mieu, Hung Mieu, The Mieu and Phung Tien Mieu), this structure was among the most sacred and important worshipping places of the feudal court and royal family, and the offering rite at Xa Tac Esplanade was listed as a major ceremony (Đại Tự).
Xa Tac was built in the Spring of 1806 when Gia Long Emperor reconstructed the Citadel on the land of 8 villages by the northern bank of the Huong River. The esplanade situated to the west of Imperial City, following the principle “left side for ancestors, and right side for God of Land (Xã Tắc)” as commonly found in traditional fortification arrangement in oriental countries.
As its particular significance and functions, the emperor ordered all garrisons and cities nationwide to contribute their own pure soil for the construction of the esplanade. Hence, Xa Tac Esplanade represents the itegrity of the whole nation. Xa Tac Rite was held twice a year in Spring and Autumn, and was second to Nam Giao Offering Ritual only in terms of the importance. Most of Nguyen Emperors used to preside over this rite.
Early morning on the rite’s date, royal flag was hoisted on Flag Pole. The emperor left Can Chanh Palace to Dai Cung Gate. Seven-gun salute was fired by the sides of Flag Pole. The royal procession passed Ngo Mon Gate and headed the Esplanade.
The Xa Tac Rite is held in 2010 at its full scale of ritual steps with more than 700 performers in ancient costumes carrying weapons and flags as an event to celebrate the Millenium Anniversary of Thang Long – Ha Noi and the coming Hue Festival 2010.
The royal procession will depart from Ngo Mon Gate at 19h40 on April 8th, 2010 (or the 24th of second lunar month) after 3 acts of bell and drum, the royal procession will then pass 23/8 Street, Le Huan Street and Ngo Thoi Nham Street before reaching Xa Tac Esplanade.
At 20h00, the rite is occured with the following ritual steps:
– Quán Tẩy (Washing hand)
– Thượng hương (Offering incense)
– Nghinh Thần ceremony ( Welcoming genies)
– Điện ngọc bạch ceremony (Offering white jades)
– Truyền chúc ceremony (Reciting prays)
– Hiến tước ceremony (Offering liquor)
– Tứ phục tộ ceremony (Serving food)
-Triệt soạn (Clearing table)
-Tống thần (Seeing off genies)
-Tư chúc bạch soạn (Radiating votive paper and tablet)
The rite this time will gather 100 villages’ elders from all areas of Thua Thien Hue Province, and it involves the particcipation of local community as their own traditional rites